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Phish talk at the government center

By Fritz Mayer
April 8, 2011

The three Phish concerts scheduled at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts were discussed at the government center in Monticello on April 7, with officials generally looking forward to the event, and predicting an economic boost to Sullivan County as the legions of Phish fans spend money locally over the three-day weekend.

Herb Clark, vice president of the Sullivan County Visitors Association (SCVA), told lawmakers that Bethel Woods is predicting that 15,000 additional people will be in the county on each of the three days, and Clark predicts another 5,000 usual visitors and weekenders.

He said that a typical traveler to a place like the county spends about $100 per day on food, lodging, gas and so on. Clark said, “We’re talking about $4 million in spending in this county; that figures out to about $320,000 in sales tax revenues just for those three days.” He reiterated the fact that many camps, inns and other lodging facilities have sold out for the weekend.

He said that SCVA has asked its members to create value-added specials for fans at shops, restaurants and attractions because the fans will be looking for something to do between concerts.

With memories of the 500,000 or so people who showed up unexpectedly for the Woodstock Festival in Bethel in 1969, there have been a few residents who have raised concerns about how loud or disruptive the crowd might be. But no one at this meeting expressed such reservations.

Undersheriff Eric Chaboty said the Sheriff’s Office will be working with Bethel Woods to ensure that only ticket holders will be allowed into the parking lot at the site, to prevent people from setting up tents or stalls to sell memorabilia and other items.